Under the Cash and Markets Analysis Support for the Uganda Refugee Response workstream, the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) has employed REACH Initiative to conduct several ad-hoc assessments with the overall aim to facilitate evidence-based planning and programming of cash and markets-based responses for humanitarian actors in Uganda.
Uganda currently hosts close to 1.45 million refugees , the largest refugee population in Africa. Most originate from South Sudan, but there are also significant populations from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi and other countries in the region. Given the long duration of their displacement, there is a growing recognition that challenges faced by refugees and the communities that host them cannot be met through a humanitarian lens alone. Therefore, there is a need to further explore the humanitarian-development nexus space in Uganda and to identify push and pull market strengthening approaches to demonstrate new pathways out of poverty. ‘Push’ strategies can be seen as those aimed at advancing the emergence of a long-term, viable production base amongst a particular demographic or geographic area.
Rapid Assessment on Livelihood and Market Strengthening Opportunities in Lamwo and Isingiro Districts, 27 January 2021 www.reach-initiative.org 5 ‘Pull’ strategies are those aimed at strengthening the demand for certain goods or services. Together these approaches can clear barriers and provide new pathways for households to graduate from support-dependency into self-reliance.
Refugees arriving in Uganda have the right to work and are allocated a plot of land in one of the 13 settlement areas by the government. Access to arable land enables refugees to grow crops to meet their own needs or sell in local markets that serve both refugee and host communities. However, in practice many refugee households remain dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. Currently, Lamwo hosts approximately 54,523 refugees in Palabek settlement. The vast majority of these originate from South Sudan. The district has a host population of around 143,800. Isingiro district hosts refugees in two settlements: Nakivale and Oruchinga. Of the two, Nakivale is much larger; hosting 135,962 out of 144,097 total refugees. The majority of refugees in Isingiro originate from DRC. Isingiro has a host population of around 596,400. Although Isingiro is more populous, with an area covering only 2,656 km2 versus Lamwo’s 5,596 km2, both districts are largely rural and the main livelihood activity for the majority of households remains subsistence farming.
This assessment aims to identify which approaches and markets, agricultural and non-agricultural, provide viable opportunities for host and refugee households to engage competitively with market systems and establish sustainable and resilient livelihoods. Both districts, Lamwo and Isingiro, are designated ‘Resilience Zones’ under USAID’s long-term development program Feed the Future. Feed the Future is the US government’s global long-term development program aimed primarily at reducing extreme poverty and malnutrition. Its approach is to support and foster commercialization across value chains, increasing both profit-margins and produce of staple crops sold across markets to provide nutritional benefits. Resilience zones are identified through factors such as high vulnerability (prevalence of stunting); high private sector and local government partnership potential; and high biodiversity as being key areas that can provide opportunities for longerterm programming to have a high impact in decreasing poverty and malnutrition and increasing resilience. As such, this assessment will not only provide up-to-date information on current barriers to inclusion into market systems, but also provide an overview of what is currently already being done by government, humanitarian and development actors to overcome these challenges. With information from this assessment, BHA can prioritize and guide the design of future programming and seek to establish links between humanitarian assistance and its longer-term Feed the Future programming.